The Fast Food Industry is in disarray all across America. Today, the day after the March on Washington’s 50th Anniversary commemorating one of the greatest speeches and movements this country has ever seen, employees of fast food chains across America have gone on strike in protest of their current wages and hoping to generate a minimum wage hike.
In major cities like New York, Chicago and Detroit to my hometown McDonald’s and Burger King, employees staged a ‘walk out’ in an attempt to muster support from fast food consumers of a pay hike from their employer’s.
The national minimum wage is currently $7.25 an hour which averages around $15,000 a year salary. Protesters are seeking an increase to $15.25 and to become unionized in the process. Increasing the the minimum wage by that additional $8 would take the average salary to a modest $31,720 annually. President Obama has been for a hike to the minimum wage but has been fighting for $9 an hour.
While being FOR the worker’s in the fast food industry in gaining an increase in pay, I’m not FOR the fast foods being served. Just a few short months ago, weren’t we staging a War on Fast Foods and Obesity? Childhood obesity in particular has been a topic of conversation for some years now in their lunchrooms and the McDonald’s and Burger King’s of the world were asked to provide America with a ‘healthier selection’ of meals on their menus.
So today’s protest is with Mixed Emotion for me. There are staggering facts about what fast foods can do to the body. Obesity is the 5th leading risk for global deaths. At least 2.8 million people will die as a result of obesity. Diseases states such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, strokes and certain cancers are directly attributed to obesity. While fast foods provide that quick fix of price and consumption, it’s slowly destroying the bodies functionality. Yest, the fast food industry is great at advertising what it can do For you. Fast, efficient meals that provide a quick fix for your hunger and cravings. What needs to be advertised is what it will do To you.
Even if the fast food industry gave us the best choices meals for a healthy diet, the price for eating healthy is mind bogglingly ridiculous. The cost of a Grilled Chicken Sandwich cost more than a fried Chic Fil A sandwich. Even the Salads are more expensive than the sandwich. So what will the consumer purchase? Big Macs and Whoopers have been the staple of the American dinner table for years because of it’s fast, efficient service and serving quantity but each have a high calorie intake, Big Mac at 550 and the Whopper with a whopping 670 calories. Pizza parlors and sweet shoppes are just as guilty.
Have you ever wondered why fast foods are cheaper than eating healthy meals? Have you ever gone grocery shopping and felt the ‘sticker shock’ of purchasing the healthy alternative versus the junk food that seems to creep back into our baskets? My wife and I had this conversation over a weekend of grocery shopping once. It’s got to be a racket and here’s why. Money.
Think about this for a second. Fast Foods are reasonably inexpensive to buy. On average, a fast food meal will cost under $8 with the meal giving you fries and a drink along with the sandwich. Parents have taken the bait on the ‘fast and convenient’ ads for years which is why this industry has thrived for decades. But in turning to fast foods, we increase our risk of all types of disease states mentioned earlier. So we intake the fast foods, increase our weight, go to the doctor who puts us on medications to ‘help’ our disease state, medication causes other side effects, more medication prescribed to offset current medication, healthcare companies and doctors are happy.
The alternative. Eat a healthier diet of grilled foods, vegetables, fruits and drinking water with plenty of exercise. Yes, eating the right meals versus fast foods isn’t the most cost effective way but it’s the Healthiest way.
It’s not easy letting go of fast foods. The craving of a burger, fries, doughnuts, milkshakes are an everyday occurrence for many. But as in everything, one must find balance. An occasional indulgence is to be expected but should not be the norm. When it’s all said and done, it’s Your body, Your health, Your way of living. Either you’ll live a healthy life with a shot at longevity or your life could be shortened with heart disease, diabetes, stroke and being on medications until your demise. It’s your choice.
So more power to the Fast Food Employee. Everyone deserves to live life without struggle when trying to earn an honest living. Living below poverty level is not living. I’ll always Support you in your cause Fast Food Worker, just not from my wallet. (ok, maybe sometimes :-))